This quote made me stop and think when I read it recently. How could it be true? The first part made sense, but how could our defects lead us toward excellence?
I got to thinking about some recent EFT sessions I have had, and found this quote a useful way to think about them.
When I first began working with Don, he told me the litany of his woes, which were many. His life has definitely been challenging, and he now experiences many chronic physical ailments and debilitating emotional states of being. Don has spent the last 20 or so years seeking healing from every possible source, traditional to non traditional. I remember thinking several times that he sounded very practiced at telling his story.
We had had about four sessions. Each of them had been "successful." By the end of the session the issue we were working on had diminished in significance, and his physical and emotional symptoms were reduced and much less easily triggered. (I tested his responses repeatedly during and after the session.)
But the next time we talked, when I would ask Don how he was doing and how that issue was now, he would launch into the same old story about not wanting to change, too risky, the same problems showed up in his life, and he was feeling the same physical symptoms. However, I kept remembering that throughout these same sessions he had shared many interesting tales about adventures he had had in his life, interesting things he was doing now and was looking forward to doing.
Two Different Stories
I got to thinking that Don had two very different stories going on in his head, and in his life, and he was only listening to one of them. I asked him to write me two paragraphs. One paragraph would be about the "old story," the very familiar sad one that he always told to his therapists and doctors and healer-types. The other paragraph would be the other story. I started out calling this the "new story," but I soon realized that really, it is the TRUE story.
It seemed to me that the "old" story must be in some mysterious way the one we were meant to live through, so that we could transform it by living it differently over time. The old story comes to us from our families, and from the emotional inheritance of our ancestors and our culture. It is about what seems possible for us in life. It shapes who and how we are in the world. And obligingly—it is a law of the universe after all—life shapes itself around us in response to what we think is true.
But—This Old Story Isn’t WHO We Are!
The "new" TRUE story contains all the evidence of who we truly are, our deeper soul qualities, if you will, expressing through us in the activities and changes and opportunities we call into our lives. Even though, in the context of who we had been and were expected to be, these activities seemed surprising, somehow they kept emerging from us in spite of ourselves.
I can think of so many things that I have done in my life that would not be expected of the child my parents thought they were raising. You probably can too, when you look at all that you have done in your life. I can see now, with the illumination of hindsight, that most of the terrible conflicts and sad times in my life were actually evidence of the Old and the True stories colliding.
Maybe I began life by unconsciously standing in what de Toqueville called "defects," which I would rather call limiting beliefs, or the emotional inheritance from my family and my ancestors and my culture. When the inner pressure of my True story got to be too much, I somehow burst through the limiting belief into an expression of a more natural truth for me. My real blueprint, as it were.
Over time, I have gotten used to my True story, and it would feel very confining and desperately uncomfortable to have to shrink back to the old one. I wouldn’t want to. Perhaps I no longer have to burst flailing out of my limitations. It feels more like an emergence, an unfolding into what is really true for me.
I think that regular use of EFT helps to open the spaces between the bars of the cage of our limiting old stories, so that soon those spaces are big enough to step through, into a larger, truer story about us.
Another image comes to me: the "Chia pet" that has been advertised on American television. It looks like a small clay animal shape, with many small holes all over the body. When you water it, the seeds planted inside sprout and grow through the holes, forming a thick coat of lush growing green.
EFT waters the seeds planted inside us and helps our truth to grow!
Step Off the Beaten Path
If we didn’t have the pain, we might never notice the collision going on inside us between the sprouting seeds of our Truth and the limiting container of the old story that we are trying to live in. And so, by utilizing what de Toqueville calls "defects," with a tool like EFT we can learn to BE our excellence.
These are the paragraphs that Don wrote in response to my request:
THE OLD STORY
The old story goes something like this:
I find it very difficult to change. When I do change, or am
looking at changing, it’s always with a great deal of anguish
and second-guessing, going over and over in my mind what
the outcomes will be—they are mostly negative (as I see them).
I view life from the perspective of the glass being half
full and if something negative hasn’t happened, just wait,
I strongly feel that I have a commitment phobia (really an addiction) in regard to relationships. I feel I also have a great deal of suppressed anger and when I get upset, rather than getting it out in constructive ways, I stuff it (I should not be angry, is a belief I have). I experience full body spasms which are centered in my abdominal area and could very well be the bottled up anger and rage. I seem to be able to only feel the dense, heavy, negative emotions and very little of joy, love, and happiness.
Change is to be looked at as something undesirable,
for the most part, because I never know what is going to
happen, so it’s better to stay, most of the time, in my
usual rut, even if it is quite uncomfortable. If I changed,
things could get even worse, so I only change when it is
absolutely necessary–and even then fight it all the way!
While many people can seem to change with ease, change is
very difficult, and in many cases impossible, for me.
THE NEW STORY
The new story goes something like this:
I have changed quite often and took many risks in my life.
I’ve lived in many houses and apartments; owned many
different cars; held many different jobs; went on trips to
Europe, North Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and
Canada, as well as traveled to many different parts of the
I have changed my religious views and personal
philosophy, leaving Catholicism behind in college (after
beginning to question it in high school), later adopting
Buddhism, and still later feeling more comfortable with a
“spiritual” approach to life rather than being plugged into
a formal religious structure. I have studied Zen Buddhism
and Taoism; practiced and studied various meditation
techniques, Tai Chi, Chi Kung, Aikido, and Kendo, learning
something from each of them (I’ve studied with Shamans in
Peru and from Russia; studied with Taoist and Tai Chi
teachers in China and Taiwan; studied Kendo in Japan).
I taught myself to fly fish and enjoyed many a day on
beautiful rural trout streams. I went to massage school, after
retiring from working 35 years in the employee benefit
field, and began to develop a small massage and energetic
healing practice. I sold my home several years ago and
moved to another state after I met my love on a trip to
China, and I overcame a severe allergy to cats in order
to be with her (she has four cats). I also now have
two cats! I received an MBA in my late 40’s, going to
school over a 3-year period to obtain the degree.
I think I’m getting the point!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Write Your True Story
I invite and encourage YOU to write your old story, the one you are used to telling and hearing about yourself. And then look back over your life, select different events to highlight, and re-write it as your True story. Play with it a little. How would your life story read as a drama with you as the creative adventuresome hero/heroine? As a comedy, discovering yourself as the clever wise Kokopelli, the trickster symbol of happiness and joy? As a fairy-tale with you as the brave Prince or Princess? Or the King or Queen, for that matter. Or the Wizard or Priestess?
What we tell ourselves manifests itself in our lives.
Now create an EFT routine for yourself out of the collision of your Old Story and your True Story. Weave the two stories together into EFT set-up statements that feel right to you. Tap for them, and tap for whatever specific emotions and memories come up.
For instance, using Don’s stories for some examples (you can find lots more):
- Even though I find it very difficult to change, I accept myself and I accept who I am, and I choose to remember that I have changed quite often and I have taken many risks in my life.
- Even though I have looked at changing with a great deal of anguish and second-guessing, going over and over in my mind what the outcomes will be, and they are mostly negative (as I see them), I love and accept myself anyway, and I choose to remember and pay attention to all the times I have made changes and they turned out well, fascinating, fun and rewarding.
- Even though I thought I had a commitment phobia, I am choosing now to commit to myself, to expressing my Truth in my life, not someone else’s expectations of me.
- Even though my body spasms may be caged rage, and I have spent my life trying to heal them, now when I accept who I really am inside, I can hear the message that my body is trying to send me: this is the collision of the old story I thought I had to live, and the True story growing inside me. I am choosing now to open the cage and free my spirit.
- Especially because I have thought that change is very difficult, and in many cases impossible, for me, I am glad that this apparent defect has gotten my attention, and I choose now to use it to open the way to Being my Excellence.
Change the Shape of Your Life
It is absolutely possible to change the shape of your life by doing EFT. If you have read my book, The 8 Master Keys to Healing What Hurts, (I recommend it! :^) )
you will remember the powerful healing story of Leila’s life that threads its way throughout the book. Leila healed herself of 20 years of severe and debilitating fibromyalgia through diligent EFT tapping work and her persistent bright spirit. No one-minute wonder here! But her life now has taken quite a different shape.
The world responds to our thoughts and feelings, shaping life around us accordingly. Leila is learning to maintain and continually open to this new shape, her True story, on a daily basis. You can see her at it in this email I got from her recently:
Next week I’ll be making a trip down to my mother’s to help
her post surgery—knee replacement—age 82. I intend to
make it a good trip, and hopefully she comes through the
In AlAnon I’ve finally come to the place in my ‘growth’
when it is time for me to make an amends to my mother for all the times I’ve hurt her—it’s important that I
genuinely do a 9th step with her—EVEN THOUGH she may not reciprocate with ANY admission of "wrong-doing’ on her part.
I must not expect anything—in fact I must be prepared for
just the opposite ( more hurtful behavior from her towards
me). This will take lots of courage and help from my
higher power. It can’t be a ‘token’ effort on my part.
So, when I get back, I’ll be READY for your teleclass—
that is for certain! (A ha!—just caught myself anticipating being in an ‘upset’ state when I get back—tut tut—talk about programming myself! )
The truth is I’m just stumbling along here. I honestly want to have a loving connection with my mother. My life’s lessons have shown me many times that things will unfold in wonderful ways that I can’t even imagine if I just let go and have faith—not fear. This must be true – I’ve seen it shown to me over an over—why not now with my most difficult relationship?
I’M the one who has to let go of (and tap out ) all of the old hurts – Time to tap on "these old hurts", and "this fear of my mother," and to get even more specific with a few especially difficult memories. Then I won’t feel at all anxious about finding the right moment to tell my mom how sorry I am for all the pain and worry I’ve caused her.
Instead I will anticipate nothing but enjoyment from one end of the trip to the other—every day—no matter what. It’s so beautiful on the coast at this time of the year—they
get their springs so early. And I’ll be seeing a couple of
my children which will be wonderful—And I’ll get a holiday
from work here—And who knows what INCREDIBLE things will happen!
This stuff is so amazing. Thank you so much Rue—your request to share my words has helped me to realize that if I spend a little more time on this before my trip, I can be so much more at ease with myself. Not just bravely facing the situation—but truly calm. This whole process has been beyond anything I ever thought possible.
love from Leila